I’m allergic to latex so I can’t use regular latex condoms, but as a college student this is starting to get sort of annoying. What are some of my other options?
~Lonely Without Latex
Dear Lonely Without Latex,
So latex is getting you down – don’t let that small detail interfere with your sexcapades! Lots of people are allergic to latex, and the makers of condoms have come up with a few different options for people just like you.
First of all, there are polyurethane condoms. These come in the form of both male and female condoms. Male polyurethane condoms are slightly more likely to tear than regular latex, so you should be sure to use extra water-based spermicidal lubricant – like some kinds of KY Jelly, for example – to prevent breakage. Female condoms, when used correctly, are up to 95 percent effective against pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections transmission – so they’re a pretty good bet. If you’re looking for these in the store, Trojan and Durex are two brands that definitely make male polyurethane condoms, and FC is the brand that makes female condoms.
Some people also use animal tissue condoms, but they don’t provide as much protection against STI’s as latex condoms do. If you’re looking for these in the store, Trojan makes them, and the brand name is Natural Lamb.
One thing that all of you “Lonely Without Latex” folks should keep in mind is that some people who think they’re allergic to latex condoms are actually sensitive to the spermicide in the lubricant on that particular brand of condom. Sometimes switching the brand or trying varieties without spermicide in the lubricant can clear up your problem!
Here’s another bit of advice for people who are allergic to latex – if you’ve had unprotected sex because you or your partner were “allergic to latex” – be wary of this excuse – you should probably find some time and get yourself tested for STI’s and HIV. It’s not a big deal and takes very little time. Testing services are available on campus at University Health Services, off campus and at your local Planned Parenthood clinic – on University Avenue or West Main Street, both in Rochester.
All in all, it’s probably a good idea to keep around a varied stash of non-latex condoms. That way – if the opportunity arises – you’re prepared, and you and your partner have some safe allergy-free options. He or she may like one kind better than another, so why not give her/him an assortment to choose from? It’s always better to have choice than to say, “Sorry, I can’t – I’m allergic to latex.”
So, “Lonely Without Latex,” good luck in your quests, god speed and enjoy your holidays STI free!
Got a question about relationships, love, or sex? E-mail Adrienne Monley for real answers to your real questions at